Peace Crane by Hilary Taylor

Peace Crane by Hilary Taylor
Picture by Justin Wyatt
To read Hilary's story buy this special book...

This magical story has a touch of the supernatural. When an injured crane is found and nursed, something happens, something magical and inspiring...

Gentle Footprints launched- AS SEEN ON TV

Gentle Footprints was officially launched Fri June 4th at the Hay Festival with guest speaker Virginia McKenna and some of the authors

Buy from Bridge House Publishing by clicking on the link BUY:


Virginia McKenna at Hay Launch

Virginia McKenna at Hay Launch

Animal Anthology To Raise Funds for Born Free

Bridge House Publishing announce new book coming Spring 2010. For more about Bridge House please see their website.
This book is the annual charity book for Born Free...if you want to get involved with promoting and selling this book- email me!

Visit the Born Free Website to find out more about their valuable work...

Visit the Born Free Website to find out more about their valuable work...

Thursday, 4 November 2010

The amazing Duck Billed Platypus!

Welcome to a lottery of posts by the authors of Gentle Footprints. We are randomly selecting animals (not in the book) but to raise awareness! Feel free to add your comments. And there will be a sequel to Gentle Footprints we hope so this is all food for thought!

This amazing critter is endemic to Eastern Australia including Tasmania and looks like an odd mixture of a duck and a mammal- perhaps something Disney night have created? Or God after a glass of vino or two!

But that aside this semi aquatic mammal is a total, albeit unlikely cutie!

Just look at this:

Together with the four species of echidna, it is one of the five extant (as in not extinct)species of monotremes, the only mammals that lay eggs instead of giving birth to live young. It is the sole living representative of its family (Ornithorhynchidae) and genus (Ornithorhynchus.)

But is it as cute as it looks. Actually this animal is one of the few venomous mammal!( Although I reckon I can think of a few!) The male Platypus has a spur on the hind foot that delivers a venom capable of causing severe pain to humans.

This critter has appeared as a mascot at national events and is featured on the reverse of the Australian 20 cent coin. The Platypus is the animal emblem of the state of New South Wales!

The body and the broad, flat tail of the Platypus are covered with dense brown fur that traps a layer of insulating air to keep the animal warm.

The Platypus uses its tail for storage of fat reserves (an adaptation also found in animals such as the Tasmanian Devil and fat-tailed sheep). It has webbed feet and a large, rubbery snout. The webbing is more significant on the front feet and is folded back when walking on land.

Unlike a bird's beak (in which the upper and lower parts separate to reveal the mouth), the snout of the Platypus is a sensory organ with the mouth on the underside. The nostrils are located on the dorsal surface of the snout, while the eyes and ears are located in a groove set just back from it; this groove is closed when swimming.

Platypuses have been heard to emit a low growl when disturbed and a range of other vocalisations.

But hey all this science stuff is boring to read- why not look at this:

The platypus is officially classified as "Common but Vulnerable" in Australia. As a species, it is not currently considered to be endangered.

However, platypus populations are believed to have declined or disappeared in many catchments, particulary in urban and agricultural landscapes. In most cases, the specific underlying reasons for the reduction in numbers remain unknown.

Platypuses in Literature (a very well known genre as you will all be aware!)

Not sure sure there are many examples of platypuses in adult fiction... maybe we have found a gap in the market!!!

And poems!

Old Man Platypus

Far from the trouble and toil of town,

Where the reed beds sweep and shiver,

Look at a fragment of velvet brown -

Old Man Platypus drifting down,

Drifting along the river.

And he plays and dives in the river bends

In a style that is most elusive;

With few relations and fewer friends,

For Old Man Platypus descends

From a family most exclusive.

He shares his burrow beneath the bank

With his wife and his son and daughter

At the roots of the reeds and the grasses rank;

And the bubbles show where our hero sank

To its entrance under water.

Safe in their burrow below the falls

They live in a world of wonder,

Where no one visits and no one calls,

They sleep like little brown billiard balls

With their beaks tucked neatly under

And he talks in a deep unfriendly growl

As he goes on his journey lonely;

For he's no relation to fish nor fowl,

Nor to bird nor beast, nor to horned owl;

In fact, he's the one and only.

by A. B. "Banjo" Paterson

In fact there is a whole website of poems!

Check this out:

And to end:

Some cute pics:
I so want this cuddly toy.. Dear Santa...

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